By CHRISTY ARMSTRONG
Franklin Academy, a local cosmetology school, recently teamed up with several community partners to "pay it forward" to people in need just before Christmas. The school recently hosted the …
Franklin Academy, a local cosmetology school, recently teamed up with several community partners to "pay it forward" to people in need just before Christmas.
The school recently hosted the homeless and other needy individuals for free salon services, food, clothing, toiletries and more.
“It was a win-win opportunity,” said Karl Petersen, board president for Franklin Academy. “It helped them, and we certainly love to 'pay it forward' to help the community.”
Desiring to do something to help the local homeless community, Franklin Academy students and staff decided to partner with Family Worship Center and the New Life Community Kitchen.
Church volunteers visited the soup kitchen in a 13-passenger van the day of the event and offered free rides to Franklin Academy. There, they could receive free salon services, a free hot meal, free clothing and more.
Franklin Academy students and instructors offered the opportunity for each individual to have his or her hair shampooed, cut and styled. Men were also offered fresh shaves.
While they waited to be served, the guests could visit the school’s break room, where crockpots full of soup, stew and chili were available to enjoy.
Other rooms in the school were set up so they could “shop” for free bags of toiletries, toothbrushes and toothpaste, socks, winter accessories, backpacks and a variety of clothing.
Many of the people being served at the event said they were grateful for the surprise opportunity to receive the free haircuts and other help.
“They’ve been great to us,” said Janet Gryder, one of the event’s guests. “I really needed a haircut, and everyone’s been so kind. It really makes you feel good.”
Petersen said he had heard many stories throughout the day about how the donated services and items helped. One homeless man said he was grateful to receive a fresh haircut and shave, because he had a job interview soon.
Patricia Kimpson, executive director of Franklin Academy, stressed this event would not have been possible without the support of many community partners.
McKee Foods helped by donating snacks. Renfro donated socks. Inman Coffee donated coffee. Piggly Wiggly donated soda. Dentist Dr. Anthony Gray donated toothpaste and toothbrushes.
Chattanooga Goodwill Industries donated some 1,200 pounds of clothing to the event. Those who could not find their sizes were offered clothing vouchers to be redeemed at Goodwill stores.
Sarah Hindmon of Chattanooga Goodwill Industries said it was “an honor” to be able to partner to help people during the holidays. She added she was impressed by the work of the Family Worship Center youth group. The teens helped sort the clothing prior to the event and volunteered the day of it.
These partners provided the support needed to allow Franklin Academy’s 35 students to help some 75 impoverished people just before Christmas.
“They helped us show love to the homeless this Christmas season,” Kimpson said. “This just goes to show what happens when people work together. If many people put in a little effort, you can make a big difference.”
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